France took another step in battling obesity this week by banning free refills of sodas in restaurants. According to The New York Times, the decision follows France’s decision to remove vending machines from schools in 2004 and limiting french fries to once a week in 2011. This also follows a “soda tax” on sugary soft drinks in 2012, all aimed to curb the “relentless rise” in France’s national obesity rank.
The main target of the new law seems to be fast food restaurants, like McDonald’s and Burger King, that typically serve unlimited refills with their meals:
The law, which takes effect immediately, said it aimed to “limit, especially among the young,” the risks of obesity and diabetes.
The move by France is in line with recommendations by the World Health Organization, which has urged countries to impose a tax on sugary drinks to battle an increase in obesity, presenting data in 2016 on the beneficial health effects of such a tax.
The French are, on average, less overweight than other Europeans and Americans. The share of obese adults (age 18 and older) in France was 15.3 percent in 2014, just below the European Union average, 15.9 percent, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Malta has the highest share of adult obesity of European nations, 26 percent.
In the United States, it is 36.5 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.